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Western Price Survey

June 6, 2014
The Heat Is On, but So Is Green Power

California peak prices shot higher Friday as forecasts called for hotter weather in the Southwest, though robust production of hydropower in the Northwest and renewables in California are likely tempering spot values.

While average prices for spot peak power at Northwest hubs lost between 50 cents and $4.30 on average, South of Path 15 and Palo Verde gained $9 and $5.10, respectively. By June 6, average daytime values ranged from $36.35/MWh at Mid-Columbia to $61.05 at SP15.

Off-peak power prices in the West rose across the board, gaining from $4.80 to $21.40 in the Friday-to-Friday trading period. California-Oregon Border posted the greatest gains, ending at $28/MWh Friday, and Mid-C emerged from negative pricing to end at $17.70/MWh June 6. Average off-peak prices ranged from $17.70/MWh at Mid-C to $44.80/MWh at SP15 (see chart).

Renewable-energy production on Cal-ISO's grid reached roughly 8,800 MW on June 2 at 3 p.m. Meanwhile, hydropower production in the Bonneville Power Administration area has been between 12,000 MW and 14,000 MW during the week (see "Power Gauge," next page).

Working gas in storage reached 1,499 Bcf as of May 30, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates, a net increase of 119 Bcf from the previous week. Storage levels are now 33 percent less than a year ago and 37.4 percent less than the five-year average.

The net storage increase, which exceeded market expectations, is the fifth-largest in EIA records, according to the agency. The EIA is now forecasting storage levels will reach 3,405 Bcf by the end of injection season on Oct. 31.

From Thursday to Thursday, Western gas prices added between 9 and 14 cents/MMBtu at most hubs, but Alberta and PG&E CityGate shot higher. Alberta gas gained 24 cents to $4.36 and PG&E CityGate added $1.09 on average to end at $5.20/MMBtu.

The California Department of Water Resources reported that, as of June 6, the statewide precipitation for the water year to date is roughly 55 percent of average.

What's ahead: Temperatures throughout inland California as well as Arizona should near or exceed the century mark into Monday. Sacramento should see 100 °F while Fresno and Bakersfield are forecast to reach 106 °F and Palm Springs 108 °F. Palo Verde-area highs should be 109 °F June 9 and 10. Elsewhere in the West, Portland expects highs in the 70s, with Seattle in the high 60s the week of June 9 [Linda Dailey Paulson].

Archives of the Western Price Survey for the past year are also available online.

The Western Price Survey is excerpted from Energy NewsData's comprehensive regional news services. See for yourself how NewsData reporters put events in an accurate and meaningful context -- request a sample of either or both California Energy Markets and Clearing Up.

Please contact with questions or comments about this site.

Contact Chris Raphael, editor with questions regarding Price Survey Content.

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